First things first, before listening to this album, import it into iTunes and delete 'The Olly' and 'Too Many Man'. While entertaining and catchy as hell, these diluted 'club grime' party bangers detract from what is a fantastic, hard hitting and very developed piece of art. Wiley is heavy and intense throughout, each track piling on the pressure from the distorted, grinding 'Head Banger' through the breathless, exhilerating 'Off The Radar' right down to the classic 'Music I Like'. Personal, direct, the man packs in a solid grime performance with the best tracks being straight, breathless freestyles where he spits fire all over the detractors. Hummer activity and Off the Radar are prime examples. A couple of weak tracks -but only in comparison to the aforementioned masterpieces -toward the second half lowers the temperature somewhat and lightens the heavy, dark mood throughout.
Like I said, if the above songs were omitted then this would be the closest thing Wiley has produced to a definitive, consistent artistic statement and would, in my eyes, blow any of the pop that Dizzee has produced away. No, this isn't mainstream, it ain't radio-friendly. This will, however, be remembered in years to come and I think a lot of people will discover its gritty production, insistent rhythms, classic bars and tough attitude that reek of integrity. Wiley earns his respect with this disc. Even the compartively lightweight 'She's Glowin'(remix) is a classy slice of electro-pop, well produced and thoughtfully vocalled with a cast of the current scene's most promising luminaries and established heroes.
The Olly and Too Many Man are mixtape affairs -suitable for tacking on to the end of an album, or maybe as b-sides or something. Maybe because Skepta included it and they were going head to head on release day Wiley felt he would lose out if the popular BBK tune was absent. It is fun to listen to a few times but is totally out of place here.
I only hope that, listen Wiley, one day a reissue will omit or relegate these tracks. I took them off my ipod and when i listen to this CD it leaves me totally exhausted with its power.